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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Saudi woman beheaded for sorcery



Another shocking news, again from Saudi Arabia. It has beheaded a woman for practicing sorcery.
A Saudi woman, in her 60s, was beheaded Monday after being convicted of practicing sorcery, which is banned in the ultra-conservative kingdom, the interior ministry said, reported AFP

Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar was executed in the northern province of Jawf for "practising witchcraft and sorcery," the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency. The Dailymail.co.uk  reported that the London-based al-Hayat daily, however, quoted Abdullah al-Mohsen, chief of the religious police who arrested the woman, as saying she had tricked people into thinking she could treat illnesses, charging them $800 (£500) per session. The newspaper said a female investigator followed the case up, and the woman was arrested in April 2009 and later convicted in a Saudi court.

It is not clear how many women have been executed in the desert-kingdom, but another woman was beheaded in October for killing her husband by setting his house on fire.

The execution brings the total to 76 this year in Saudi Arabia. At least three have been women, and 11 were foreign nationals. In September, a Sudanese man, Abdul Hamid bin Hussain bin Moustafa al-Fakki, was also put to death in Saudi Arabia for sorcery.

Amnesty International has called for the kingdom's government to establish an immediate moratorium on executions.

The crime of 'sorcery' is not defined in Saudi Arabian law but it has been used to punish people for the legitimate exercise of their human rights, including their right to freedom of expression, the charity said.

The London-based human rights watchdog condemned Monday's execution as "truly appalling," and called on the conservative kingdom to urgently halt the practice.

"The charges of 'witchcraft and sorcery' are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia", said Philip Luther, Amnesty's interim director of the Middle East and North Africa.

"To use them to subject someone to the cruel and extreme penalty of execution is truly appalling," he added in a statement, which stressed the "urgent need" to stop executions.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

Luther described as "deeply disturbing" the huge rise in the number of executions in Saudi Arabia.
Many of those executed have had no defence lawyer and are not informed about the legal proceedings against them, according to Amnesty.

"While we don't know the details of the acts which the authorities accused Amina of committing, the charge of sorcery has often been used in Saudi Arabia to punish people, generally after unfair trials, for exercising their right to freedom of speech or religion," Luther said.

Earlier this month, Amnesty accused the oil-rich kingdom of conducting a campaign of repression against protesters and reformists since the Arab Spring erupted 12 months ago.

The rights group said Saudi Arabia was one of a minority of states which voted against a UN General Assembly resolution last December calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.

Amnesty says Saudi Arabia executed 27 convicts in 2010, compared to 67 executions announced the year before.




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